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AGLC standing for Australian Guide to Legal Citation is an Australian legal citation style that provides the community in this field with a standard for citing their sources. There are two major features for AGLC referencing style:

  • In-text reference numbers within the assignment’s text and accompanying footnotes. They are numbered consecutively for the purpose of acknowledging all the sources you use.
  • A bibliography at the end of the paper. It is a complete list of everything cited in the academic paper. Check with the unit

    coordinator if it is necessary to have one for your paper.

AGLC referencing style provides guideline for legal citations, and it consists of:

  • Citations in the body of a page using superscripted (raised) numbers
  • A list of footnotes at the bottom of each page (foot) for all citations on it.
  • A bibliography if required. It is at the end of your paper and provides details of all the sources mentioned in the text and details of the other sources you consulted when preparing your paper.

History of AGLC

Melbourne University Law Review Association published Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) in collaboration with Melbourne Journal of International Law in 1998. The goal was to provide standards of citing legal sources for Australian community of law as there was none in for the country. At the time, there were several competing styles in Australian law publications. None had universal acceptance hence schools and law journals had their style guides.

There are three publications of AGLC:


It contained general rules and some examples for legal citations. It also covered certain laws for Australian primary law and secondary sources such as journal articles, books or other materials. AGLC1 limited coverage of international legal materials to United States, Canada, United Kingdom and New Zealand together with several other international sources. It had two appendices; a table of law reports and the commonly used abbreviations. Also featuring was a concise easy to use Quick Reference Guide.


It was published in 2002 with expanded rules to include additional sources such as translations, explanatory memoranda to legislation translations, committee, and royal commission reports. Others sources included speeches, convention debates, letters and transcripts (for radio, television, and courts). AGLC2 expanded coverage of the basic international sources to include the WTO, GATT, decisions by European Court of Justice and addresses internet sources. These are the guidelines that added a rule on the use of bibliographies and revised rules of AGLC1 to make them clearer.


AGLC3 is a 2010 publication with additional 14 chapters dividing the whole into six parts. It replaced AGLC2 lists of information with tables and examples with new ones. For instance, it significantly expanded Part IV on The International Legal Materials and Part V (Foreign Jurisdictions). It accommodated more countries such as China, Germany, France Hong Kong, South Africa, Singapore, and Malaysia.

The third edition has over 300 pages changes some of the rules to for example require citation of books to include publisher information. The most length of the guidelines comprises of a clear format and useful examples.

Sources to Cite in AGLC

AGCL brought standards citation of various materials used in law writing. There are diverse sources to use for legal writing, but you can group them into two broad categories:

Primary sources:Constitute of legislation by Parliament and decisions on cases by the courts.

Secondary sources: All other materials ranging from journal articles to reports, books, and parliamentary debates.

An excellent legal citation identifies the materials you used or discussed in your paper so you must use cite accurately and correctly in the following sections.

In -text citations

You provide in-text reference when your paper has:

  • Long direct quote
  • Short direct quotation
  • Indirect quote by summarizing or paraphrasing

Use Arabic numbers for numbering references. Put the numbers in superscript for example1


Citing Sources in Footnotes

In AGCL, footnotes provide extra information that is inappropriate for the main body of text. They also help in backing arguments and acknowledging a source contributing to your argument.

Use superscript numbers with corresponding numbers when discussing ideas or information from sources. Acknowledge sources such as cases, journals, books reports, television, radio and legislations in the footnotes. Number the notes consecutively. Write a superscript number at the end of text’s portion which the similar note is referring. Place the number after an appropriate punctuation such as a comma or full stop.

Repeat Citations

Do not provide full bibliographic details in the footnote when citing a source more than one time. Use the term 'ibid' and above 'n' when referring to previous citations. Do not use 'above n' to indicate repeat citations of a legislation and cases. Instead, use 'ibid,' an abbreviation for Latin term 'ibidem' that means in the same place. Always capitalize Ibid if it appears at the beginning of your footnote. Use 'ibid' for a reference to a specific place in the cited text (pinpoint reference) and next footnote is to this same work and the same location in the text you cited.

Do not repeat the pinpoint reference. Let an ibid precede the pinpoint reference (different section or page number) if you refer to the same source on the previous footnote but to a different section or page.

'Above n' refers to a source you cited in the previous note but the one that precedes it immediately. You can still use 'above n' when referring to the preceding footnote if it lists more than just one source but does not use to cite cases or legislation. Use footnotes when you discuss ideas or when you summarize, quote or paraphrase a source unless you already provided it in the text. In your footnotes:

  • Write author’s name exactly as it appears in your source
  • For two to three authors, name all of them and separate the last two with the word 'and.'
  • Cite more than three authors by only including the family name of fist listed author then 'et al.'
  • Separate initials in the names of authors by a space but do not follow them with a period
  • The first letter of significant words in all the titles should be in capital.
  • End each footnote with a full stop. Note that this does not apply for bibliography entries.

Examples of footnotes

A control order process will undermine the fundamental principle of liberty unless a person is in lawful custody 1. Nicola McGarrity, 'From Terrorism to Bikies: Control Orders' (2012) 31(3), The Alternative Law Journal 166, 168. Examples of repeat citations
  • Recreational Grounds Ltd and Victoria Park Racing V Taylor (1937) 58 CLR 479, 480.
  • Bryan Dwyer and Joyce Tooher, Introduction to Property Law (Lexis Nexus Butterworths, 5th Ed, 2008), 27.
  • Ibid 52-3.
  • Recreation Grounds Ltd and Victoria Park Racing (1937) 58 CLR 479, 483.
  • Ibid 480
  • The Banking Act 1959(Cth).
  • Ibid
  • Dwyer and Tooher, above n 2, 14
  • Ibid 20
  • The Banking Act 1959 (Cth)s 5
  • Lexis Nexis, Australian Legal Dictionary (at 20 November 2016) 'Comity'.
  • Ibid Jurisdiction

Bibliography or Reference list

List all the sources you use in text and footnotes alphabetically under each of the headings.

  • Disregard a, an, and the when listing sources. Do not follow citations with full stops.
  • Unlike in the footnotes, do not full stops at the end of your bibliographical entries

Formatting of author’s names in the bibliographical entries is different from the notes.

Order the work alphabetically according to the family name of first listed author.

  • For a single author, start with family name followed by a comma then write the given name or the initials.
  • Cite work by two or three authors beginning with the family name of the first-listed author insert a comma followed by the provided name or initials. Provide the names of second and third writers in the correct order using an 'and' to separate them.
  • Cite work by four writers or more starting with the family name of the first-listed author, a comma and given initials or name.
Write 'et al.' to represent others.

AGCL, recommends dividing a bibliography into these divisions:


Invert the fist name and surname of the author(s) and separate them with a comma as these examples show.

Article:John, Bennett and Caroline White, Laws for Protecting Ecosystems: How can we secure the environment? (2014) 30, Clean Environment Journal 20

Newspaper article

In print:Author, Title of the Article, Newspaper Title (Publication Place) day month year, pinpoint page.

If an article in an independently paginated section if a newspaper, include the name of this part in italics before writing paper's title.

Online or a database: Author, Article Title, Newspaper (online), day month year, page

Only use electronic newspaper articles when there is no identical print edition. It does not require you to include a retrieval date.

Article without author: Article title, Newspaper (place of publication), day, month, year, page.


One Author:Surname of the author, First Name or the Initials, Book Title (Publisher, Edition, Year) page

Two to three authors:First, Second and Third Author, Book Title (Publisher, Edition Number, Publication year) Page

Four or more authors:Name of first-listed author et al, Title of Book (publisher number of edition, year) Page

Chapter of an edited book: Author, 'Chapter's Title' in Editor(ed), Book Title (Publisher, Edition number, year) chapter's first page, another page

E-Book:Author, editor(ed) Title, day month year) publisher

Case: Use surnames without initials or given names to cite the plaintiff (first) and the defendant. Do not include punctuation in the abbreviations. Avoid ‘and, &, or' in the citation. The preference is to cite a reported version of a case or an authorized report. E.g (reported case) Joel v Fredrick (2013) 20 CLR 70

(Unreported case) Aussie Services Ltd v Olivia [2015] HCA 3 (8 April 2015)

Legislation: Cite a short title of the Act and the initial year when parliament passed it in italics. Do not italicize title and year of the bill. Citing a law refers to it as amended and consolidated. Cite delegated legislation such as regulation, orders or rules in a similar way to an Act.

A bill: Basic Education Amendment (No 2) Bill 2015(Cth)

Treaties:Cite the title of the agreement in italics as it appears on its first page. For treaties with four or more signatories, do not include names of parties after the title.

Convention against Degrading Treatment and Other Inhumane Acts, opened for signature 10 November 2013, 1200 UNTS 70(entered into force 10 November 2014)

Internet materials:Surname of the Author, First Name, Title of the document (day month year if available) Name of the website (omit if it the same as author’s name)

Cite a web page only when you cannot find the work in print format. Use date of last update or date of creation if it is not available or as much information as available about the date.

Legal Encyclopedia:Encyclopedia Title, Vol. number, (last update date or retrieval date if unavailable) Title number Title's name, 'chapter number Name of Chapter' [Number of the paragraph]

Journal Article

One to three authors:First, second and third Author, Article Title (Year) volume (issue) Journal's Title first page of the article, another page(s)

F our or more authors:First Author et al, 'Article Title'(year) volume (issue) Title of Journal first page of the article, another page

If the publisher organized the journal by volume, use brackets around the year or square brackets if it the organization is by year.

Include issue numbers only when the pagination across issues in not continuous i.e. every issue starts at page 1.

Media release:Author (and jurisdiction), 'Title' (Media Release, Document number if available, day month year)

You can include a URL if it assists in retrieval.

Radio and television transcripts: Broadcaster 'Title of Segment', Name of Program, day month year of the broadcast (Speaker)

Loose leaf:Publisher, Title, Vol. number (at the most recent service number for the purpose of pinpoint reference)

Committee and Commission Report: Name of committee or commission, Title, Report/Discussion Paper Number (Year)

Quotations:Quote in single quote marks for short quotes that are less than three lines.

Do not include a punctuation mark such as a full stop or a comma at the end of a direct quote within quote marks unless it forms an important part of a sentence.

Do not use quotation marks for quotes exceeding three lines. Start your quote on a fresh line in a smaller font. Indent the quote from left-hand margin of a page about 1cm.

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